“God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed; Courage to change the things which should be changed; and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”
— Reinhold Niebuhr
Take a step back… breathe… count your blessings.
Since the pandemic started, we’ve been the marshal of misery — exploring the many crises that could affect your health, your wealth, your general well-being.
COVID-19… government spending… inflation… infrastructure… taxes… cryptocurrencies… climate change… revolution… woke-ism… the assault on the classics…
It’s a lot.
And it’s draining to constantly contemplate things we have so little power to control. That’s why it has been a pleasure to connect with Ian Silverberg for this week’s Session.
Before you think we’ve gone all-touchy feely over the weekend, Ian’s been a Reserve member for nearly 15 years. “You had a profound impact on my life,” he tells me.
Much like last week’s guest, Mark Moss, Ian has been involved in a number of business ventures over the past two decades. He’s founded several capital investment firms, mostly in the health and wellness space. He’s traded stocks when they didn’t seem to be overvalued. He’s bought and sold real estate, going international with some of his projects. Locally, in California, he’s flipped around 60 houses. He now resides in one of his own “intentful living” communities.
I joked he should have made a bid for an HGTV show. “I considered that,” he responded. But the details of his story only give us a springboard to talk about what Ian is really passionate about…
Before we get into it, even though we have the Reserve in common, we actually met Ian through a friend and colleague, Jud Anglin, who founded a medical tourism business. As Ian was in the health space, he reached out to Jud about that “pre-pandemic” business. You can imagine what international travel has wrought. Still, Ian and Jud became friends. Then discovered they had the Reserve in common.
We connected a few dots, and this week’s Session came about. I’m intrigued by Ian’s approach to investing and life in general. He calls it “intentful living.” It’s about cutting through the noise of everyday life — Covid, Climate Change and Collusion of the Elites, to name the big three C’s.
If you can be intentful about your decisions today, you will be better off — for yourself, your family, your money or your business — on an ongoing basis. Politics and social media be damned!
Simple enough, but hard to practice.
Your problems often start when you “try and gain control of the external world,” Ian begins. But there’s “almost nothing in the external world that [you] can actually control.”
Silverberg is talking about the big stuff, of course — like the policies the demagogues in Glasgow are dreaming up. “We can influence policy if we’re lucky, but we can’t control it,” he says. Without citing classics himself, Ian is channeling the stoic Marcus Aurelius, whose classical wisdom we covered on Nov. 20, 2020.
Focus on what you can control. Be intentful about it. “The only things we can really control,” Ian tells me, “are our response to stimuli, or our intentions.”
Ian points out that every manmade object in the universe started with an intention. “Somebody had a thought first,” he believes. “It was an intention before it became real” — a meal, a house, a bridge, a boat… a garden.
In other words, intent is the root of every good decision. Once you’ve established the intent, you can “communicate and harness the resources in order to bring that intention to life.”
That’s not to say “you shouldn’t focus on anything but what is in your control.” It’s more about choosing where to put your energy. “People are wasting their energy” on abstract ideas like vaccine mandates and lockdowns when they could be doing something intentful like being a “pro dad.”
Alas, since we’ll be suffering through another news cycle of bombastic Glasgow blithering, let’s see if we can’t apply Ian’s philosophy to the topic of climate change. (We’ll hear Ian talk more about the communities he’s been investing in that support intentful living and how his effort to be a “pro dad” worked out later this week.)
“I don’t know that I can make much change in policy on climate change,” Ian says. And “I don’t really know whether investing in carbon credits is a solution, or is that even really a bigger distraction?”
Rather than worry about it, Ian says, “I’m going to put my energy into helping the people who I think are out there solving a piece of the problem.”
“That’s tangible to me.”
We’ll dig deeper into Reserve member Ian’s idea of “intentful living” and how he employs it in business and investing over the next few days.
Founder, The Financial Reserve